|The Many Faces of Ted Bundy
She was not asleep, as her roommates had thought when they approached the bed of Joni
Lenz on the afternoon of January 4, 1974. They found her lying in a pool of blood that
was seeping from her head and face. Terrified, her roommates removed the covers from
Joni Lenz's body only to find an even more horrible sight. A bed rod had been torn away
from the bed and savagely rammed into her vagina. Shortly after her discovery, Joni was
transported to the hospital as she lay in a coma, suffering from brain damage that would
affect her for the rest of her life. However, she was lucky to be alive. Joni was one of the
few victims to survive an attack by Ted Bundy who reigned terror across the United
States during the 1970's. There were countless more victims before and after Joni who
were not so fortunate to have lived. Some thirty-six women may have fallen prey to
Bundy, but only he knew for sure. It is a number that Bundy has carried with him to his
After spending the last remaining months of her pregnancy at a home for unwed mothers
in Burlington, Vermont, 22-year-old Eleanor Louise Cowell, a native of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania gave birth to her son Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946. Ted's
natural father, Lloyd Marshall, who was an Air Force veteran and later salesman, was
unknown to him throughout his life. Shortly after Ted's birth he and his mother moved
back to Philadelphia to live with Eleanor's parents who he would later refer to as his
mother and father. This charade allowed Eleanor to escape any harsh criticism and
prejudice for being an unwed mother. Theodore grew up referring to his own mother as
his older sister.
At the age of four Ted moved to Tacoma, Washington, with his natural mother to live
with relatives. It is there that they legally changed their names. Ted became Theodore
Robert Nelson and his mother Eleanor became Louise Cowell. A year after the move to
Washington State, Louise Cowell married an army cook by the name of Johnnie
Culpepper Bundy, whose last name Ted would assume for the rest of his life. A name that
would later become synonymous with murder.
Louise and Johnnie were to have four other siblings who Ted spent much of his time
baby-sitting after school. Ted never really took to his new father who tried unsuccessfully
to raise him as his own son, by including him in camping trips and other father-son
activities. Ted had his own ideas and thought of himself more as a Cowell than a Bundy.
The only man who he would ever really look up to was his grandfather who lived in
Pennsylvania. He was the only man Ted respected and yet Ted was forced to leave him to
move to a strange new place on the other side of the continent.
As a youth, Ted was terribly shy and was often teased and made the butt of pranks by
bullies in his junior high school. Regardless of the sometimes humiliating experiences he
suffered, he was able to maintain a high grade average that would continue throughout
high school and later into college. Friends from high school would later remember Ted as
being a more popular figure than he was in junior high. Although he was very shy, Ted
was thought of as being "well dressed and exceptionally well mannered." Yet no one
recalled him dating anyone during that period. His interests lay elsewhere such as in skiing
and politics. In fact, it was in high school that Ted's interest in politics began to bloom.
In 1965, Ted graduated from high school and won a scholarship to the University of Puget
Sound and in 1966 he transferred to the University of Washington, where he began his
intensive studies in Chinese. He worked his way through the university by taking on
low-level jobs such as a bus boy and shoe clerk. Yet, he never stayed with any one
position for very long. He was thought of by some employers to be unreliable. Although
he was inconsistent with his work outside of school, he was more focused on his work in
school and was able to maintain a high grade point average. But his focus changed during
the spring of 1967 when he began a relationship that would change his life forever.
Stephanie Brooks was everything Ted had ever dreamed of in a woman. She was a
beautiful and highly sophisticated woman from a wealthy Californian family. Ted couldn't
believe someone from her "class" would have an interest in someone like him. Although
they had many differences, they both loved to ski and it was during their many ski trips
together that they began to fall in love. Stephanie was Ted's first love and she was the first
woman with whom he became involved with sexually. Ted and Stephanie spent a lot of
time together doing things that most young couples in love did, such as romantic ski trips,
long walks and intimate dinners. However, Stephanie was not as infatuated with Ted as he
was with her. In fact, she liked Ted a lot but believed he had no real direction or future
goals. Stephanie wanted someone who would fit in with her lifestyle and she didn't believe
Ted was that person. Ted tried too hard to impress her, even if that meant lying,
something that she didn't like at all.
In 1968, after graduating from the University of Washington, Stephanie broke off relations
with Ted. Ted never recovered from the break-up. Nothing, including school, seemed to
hold any interest for him and he eventually dropped out, dumb-founded and depressed
over the break-up. His one true love had left him and his world seemed to befalling apart.
He managed to stay in touch with her by writing after she returned to California, yet she
seemed uninterested in getting back together. But, Ted was obsessed with Stephanie and
he couldn't get her out of his mind. It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and
lead to a series of events that would shock the world.
To make matters worse, in 1969 Bundy learned of his true parentage. His "sister" was
actually his mother and his "parents," he was to find out, were actually his grandparents.
During this time in his life Bundy "became possessed of a kind of icy resolve." He changed
from a shy and introverted person to a more focused and dominant character. He was
driven, as if to prove himself to the world and, most importantly, to Stephanie. Ted was a
man with a mission. He re-enrolled at the University of Washington and studied
psychology, a subject in which he excelled. Bundy became an honors student and was well
liked by his professors at the university.
It is also at this time when Ted met Meg Anders, a woman with whom he would be
involved with for almost five years. Meg worked as a secretary and was a somewhat shy
and quiet woman. She was a divorcee who seemed to have found the perfect father figure
for her daughter in Ted Bundy. Meg was deeply in love with Ted from the start and
wanted to one day marry him. However, Ted was not yet ready for marriage because he
felt there was still too much for him to accomplish. She knew that Ted didn't feel as
strongly for her as she did him. She felt that on many occasions Ted was meeting with
other women. Yet, Meg thought time would bring him around to her and he would
eventually change his ways. Meg was unaware of his past relationship with Stephanie and
that they still continued to keep in contact and visit each other. Ted remarked to a close
friend at the time that Stephanie" was the one woman, the only woman I ever really loved.
It's different from the way I feel about Meg."
Outwardly, Ted's life in 1969-1972 seemed to be changing for the better. He was more
confident with high hopes for his future. Ted began sending out applications for various
law schools, while at the same time he became active in politics. He worked on a
campaign to re-elect a Washington governor, a position that allowed Ted to form bonds
with politically powerful people in the Republican Party. Ted also performed volunteer
work at a crisis clinic on a work-study program. He was pleased with the path his life was
taking at this time, everything seemed to be going in the right direction. He was even
commended by the Seattle police for saving the life of a three-year-old boy who was
drowning in a lake.
In 1973, during a business trip to California for the Washington Republican Party, Ted
met up with his old flame Stephanie Brooks for a night out. Stephanie was amazed at the
transformation in Ted. He was much more confident and mature, not as aimless as he was
when they last dated. They met several other times afterwards, unknown to Meg. During
Ted's business trips he romantically courted Stephanie and she once again fell in love with
Marriage was a topic brought up more than once by Ted over their many intimate
rendezvous together during that fall and winter. Yet, just as suddenly as their romance
began, it changed radically. Where once Ted lavished affection upon Stephanie, he was
suddenly cold and despondent. It seemed as if Ted had lost all interest in her over the
period of just a few weeks. Stephanie was undoubtedly confused as to the sudden change
in Ted. In February 1974, with no warning or explanation Ted ended all contact with
Stephanie. His plan of revenge worked. He rejected Stephanie as she had once rejected
him. Stephanie was never to see or hear from Ted again.
On December 6, 1973, a young couple stumbled across the remains of a 15-year-old girl in
McKenny Park, Washington. Kathy Devine was last seen by friends on November 25th
hitchhiking to Oregon, trying to run away from home. Shortly after she began her journey,
pathologists said she met her death. Kathy Devine had been strangled, sodomized and her
throat cut. An investigation began immediately, but there was little remaining evidence at
the scene. Kathy Devine was not the last one to die under such circumstances that year. A
month after the discovery of the Devine girl came the attack of Joni Lenz, which was soon
followed by an even more unusual attack.
When Lynda Ann Healy didn't show up for work or for dinner on January 31, 1974,
friends and family began to worry. The very attractive University of Washington senior
shared a house with several other students. Police discovered an unusual situation in
Lynda's room, but not one which particularly indicated foul play. Blood was found on
her pillow, which was missing its satin pillowcase, and on her mattress. Two of her
housemates claimed that the bed was made up quite differently than Lynda would have
done it. In the closet, her nightgown was hanging up, caked with blood around the collar.
Missing from Lynda's room were the pillowcase, the top bed sheet, her knapsack and
Had somebody crept into the house, knocked Lynda unconscious, made up her bed neatly,
and taken her away with a change of clothes and some of the bed linens?
The police didn't give much credence to that notion, so no forensic evidence was taken
from her room at that time. They assumed that she would eventually turn up, but she
didn't and investigators were stymied.
During that spring and summer, seven more women students suddenly and inexplicably
vanished within the states of Utah, Oregon and Washington. There were striking
similarities among many of the cases. For instance, all the girls were white, thin, single,
wearing slacks at the time of disappearance, had hair that was long and parted in the
middle and they all disappeared in the evening. Also around the time of the
disappearances, police interviewed college students who told them of a strange man who
was seen wearing a cast on either his arm or leg. Supposedly, the stranger seemed to be
struggling with books and asking young women nearby for assistance. Other eyewitnesses
reported a strange man in the campus parking lot who had a cast and asked for assistance
with his car, a VW bug that he apparently had difficulty starting. Interestingly, around the
same area where two of the girls mysteriously disappeared, there was seen such a man
wearing a cast on his arm or leg.
Finally, in August of 1974 in Lake Sammamish State Park, Washington State, remains of
some of the missing girls were found and two were later identified. It was remarkable that
police were able to identify two of the bodies considering what was left, which consisted
of strands of various colors of hair, five thigh bones, a couple of skulls and a jaw bone.
The girls identified were Janice Ott and Denise Naslund who disappeared on the same day,
The last people to have seen Ott, a couple picnicking near by, remembered a handsome
young man approaching the young woman. From what the couple could hear from the
conversation between Ott and the young man, his name was Ted and he had difficulty
loading his boat onto his car due to a broken arm. He asked Ott for assistance and she
agreed to help. That was the last time 23-year-old Janice Ott was seen alive.
Denise Naslund was spending the afternoon with her boyfriend and friends when she
walked towards the restroom in the park, never to return again. That afternoon, around
where she disappeared, a man who wore a cast and asked for help with his boat
approached a couple of women. They were unable to assist the attractive young man.
However, Denise Naslund was the kind of girl to help someone in need, especially
someone with a broken arm--an act of kindness that cost her life. Denise Naslund was not
the last woman to disappear and be found dead.
Midvale, Utah's, Police Chief Louis Smith had a seventeen-year-old daughter who he
frequently warned about the dangers of the world. He had seen all too much during his
career and worried for his daughter's safety. Yet, his worst fears were to come true on
October 18, 1974 when his daughter Melissa disappeared. She had been found 9 days after
her disappearance -- strangled, sodomized and raped.
Thirteen days later on Halloween, seventeen-year-old Laura Aime disappeared. She was
found on Thanksgiving Day in the Wasatch Mountains lying dead by a river. Aime had
been beaten about the head and face with a crowbar, raped and sodomized. It was
suspected that she was killed someplace other than where she was found due to the lack of
blood at the crime scene. Other than her body, there was no physical evidence for the
police to use.
The similarities between the Washington State and Oregon murders caught the attention
of local police in Utah, who were frantically searching for the man responsible for these
awful crimes. With each murder, the evidence was slowly mounting. Utah police consulted
with Oregon and Washington State investigators. Almost all agreed that it was highly
likely that the same man who committed the crimes in Oregon and Washington State had
been responsible for the killings in Utah. Thanks to eyewitness accounts of the man in the
cast seen near the areas where many of the women had disappeared, they were able to
come up with a composite of the could-be-killer who called himself "Ted."
When Lynn Banks, a close friend of Meg Anders, saw the account of Melissa Smith's
murder in the paper and the composite of the could-be-killer, she knew Ted Bundy must
be the man. It wasn't just her intense dislike and mistrust for Meg's boyfriend that led her
to believe Ted was the "man," but also the fact that he looked so much like the composite
picture in the paper. Meg also had to agree that the sketch of the killer did resemble Ted,
yet she couldn't believe the man she loved and lived with could do such horrible things.
Somewhat hesitant, she contacted the police in the fall of 1974, on the advice of her
friend. Meg was one of five people to have turned in Ted Bundy's name to police. Her
report, along with the others, was filed away and forgotten until a few years later. Police
were so inundated with tips that when they came to Ted Bundy, an apparently respectable
man, they set him aside to investigate other more likely suspects.
It was on November 8th, 1974, when police investigators were to get the break in the case
for which they had been waiting. That Friday evening, a strange but handsome man in a
book store at a Utah mall approached eighteen-year-old Carol DaRonch. The stranger told
her that he had seen someone trying to break into her car and asked her to go along with
him to the parking lot to see if anything had been stolen. Carol thought that the man must
have been a mall security guard because he seemed so in control of the situation. When
they arrived at the car, she checked it and informed the man everything was there. The
man, who identified himself as Officer Roseland, was not satisfied and wanted to escort
her to police headquarters. He wanted her to ID the supposed criminal and file a
complaint. When he led her to a VW bug, she became suspicious and asked for
identification. He quickly showed her a gold badge and then escorted her into the car.
He drove off quickly in the opposite direction of the police station and after a short while
he suddenly stopped the car. Fear had set into Carol DaRonch. The "police officer"
suddenly grabbed her and tried to put handcuffs on her. DaRonch screamed for her life.
When she screamed, the man pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill her if she didn't
stop. DaRonch found herself falling out of the car and then suddenly pushed up against the
side of it by the madman. He had a crowbar in his hand and was ready to hit her head.
Terror-struck, she kicked his genitals and managed to break free. DaRonch ran towards
the road and caught the attention of a couple driving by. They stopped and DaRonch
frantically jumped into their car. She was crying hysterically and told them a man had tried
to kill her. They immediately took her to the police.
Sobbing, with the handcuffs still dangling from her wrists, she told the police what one of
their men had done. But, there was no man with the name of Roseland that worked there.
Immediately police were dispatched to the place where DaRonch had struggled for her life
just an hour earlier but the madman was long gone. However, the police were able to get a
description of the man and his car and a few days later, from off the girl's coat, a blood
type. The blood was type O, the same as Ted Bundy's, as police were later to learn.
That same evening, Jean Graham was busy backstage directing a play at Viewmont High
School when she was approached by a handsome man who asked for her assistance with
identifying a car. Yet, she was far too busy and refused him. Again, he later approached
her and asked for her assistance, and again she refused him. Something seemed odd,
almost scary about the man but she ignored it and kept on with the work at hand. But, she
was bothered to see the man again in the back of the auditorium. She wondered what it
was he really wanted.
Debby Kent, who was watching the evening performance along with her parents, left early
to pick up her brother at the bowling alley. She told her parents that she'd be back to pick
them up shortly, but she never did. In fact, she never made it to the car, which stood
empty in the school parking lot. Debby Kent was nowhere to be found. What police did
find in the parking lot was a small handcuff key. Later, when police tried to fit the key into
the handcuffs worn by DaRonch earlier that night, it was a perfect match. The key that
they found where Kent disappeared was able to open DaRonch's handcuffs. Almost a
month later, a man would call police to tell them that he had seen a tan VW bug speed
away from the high school parking lot the night of Kent's disappearance.
On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell, her fiancÚ, Dr. Raymond Gadowski, and his two
children took a trip to Colorado. Caryn hoped she could enjoy the break away from work
and spend more time with the children, while her fiancÚ attended a seminar. While relaxing
in the lounge of her hotel with Gadowski and his son and daughter one night, she realized
she had forgotten a magazine and returned to her room to retrieve it. Her fiancÚ and the
children waited for her return in vain. He knew she was a bit ill that night and went back
to the room to see if she needed help. Caryn was nowhere in sight. In fact, she had never
made it to the room. By mid-morning, confused and worried, Gadowski informed the
police of her disappearance. They searched every room in the hotel but they found no
trace of Caryn. Almost a month later and a few miles from where she disappeared,
recreational workers found Caryn's nude body laying a short distance from the road. She,
like many of the victims found in Washington, Oregon and Utah, had suffered from
repeated blows to the head. Again, little evidence was to be found at the scene.
Apparently, she had been killed just hours after she disappeared.
A few months after Caryn Campbell's body was discovered, the remains of another person
were found ten miles from where the bodies of Naslund and Ott were located. It was
Brenda Ball, one of the seven women who had disappeared earlier that summer. The
cause of her death was blows to the head with a blunt object.
Police searched the Taylor Mountains where the bodies were found. It would be only a
couple days later when another body would be discovered. The body was that of Susan
Rancourt, who had also disappeared earlier that summer. The Taylor Mountains had
become the burial sight for the madman known as "Ted." Two more bodies were found
that month; one of them was Lynda Ann Healy. All of the victims suffered from severe
head contusions from a blunt instrument, possibly a crowbar.
Police continued unsuccessfully to look for the killer. Five more women were found dead
in Colorado under similar circumstances. They were not the last to fall victim to Ted's
On August 16th, 1975, Utah Highway Patrolman, Bob Hayward was sitting is his police
car, patrolling an area just outside of Salt Lake County, when he spotted a suspicious tan
VW bug drive past him. He knew the neighborhood well and almost all the residents that
lived there and he couldn't remember seeing the tan VW there before. When he put on his
lights to get a better view of the VW's license plate, the driver of the bug turned off his
lights and began speeding away.
Immediately, Sergeant Hayward began to chase the vehicle. The car sped through two
stop signs before it eventually pulled over into a nearby gas station. Bob Hayward pulled
up behind the reckless driver and watched as the occupant got out of his car and
approached the police vehicle. Hayward asked the young man for his registration and
license, which was issued to Theodore Robert Bundy. Just then, two other troopers,
officer's Fife and Twitchell, pulled up behind the tan VW. Hayward began to walk towards
Bundy's car and noticed that the passenger seat was missing. With mounting suspicion and
Bundy's permission, the three officers inspected the VW. The officers found a crowbar, ski
mask, rope, handcuffs, wire and an ice pick. Bundy was immediately placed under arrest
for suspicion of burglary.
Soon after Bundy's arrest, police began to find connections between him and the man who
attacked Carol DaRonch. The handcuffs that were found in Bundy's car were the same
make and brand that her attacker had used and the car he drove was similar to the one she
had described. Furthermore, the crowbar found in Bundy's car was similar to the weapon
that had threatened DaRonch earlier that November. They also suspected that Bundy was
the man responsible for the kidnapping of Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debby Kent.
There were just too many similarities among the cases for police to ignore. However,
police knew they needed much more evidence to support the case against Bundy.
On October 2nd, 1975, Carol DaRonch along with Jean Graham and a friend of Debby
Kent's were asked to view a line-up of seven men, one of whom was Bundy, at a Utah
police station. Investigators were not surprised when Carol DaRonch picked Ted from the
line-up as the man who had attacked her. Jean Graham and a friend of Debby Kent's had
also picked Ted from the line-up as the man they had seen wandering around the
auditorium the night Debby Kent had disappeared. Although Ted repeatedly professed his
innocence, police were almost positive they had their man. Soon after he was picked out
of the line-up, investigators launched a full-blown investigation into the man they knew as
Theodore Robert Bundy.
During the fall of 1975, police investigators approached Meg Anders for whatever
information she was able to give about Ted. After all, she had alerted police to her
suspicions concerning her boyfriend in connection to the notorious "Ted." They believed
Meg would most likely hold the key to Bundy's whereabouts, habits and personality. What
investigators learned would later help link Ted Bundy to the murder victims.
On September 16th, 1975, Meg was called into the King County Police Major Crime Unit
building in Washington State and interviewed by Detectives Jerry Thompson, Dennis
Couch and Ira Beal. She was visibly stressed and nervous, but willing to offer the police
any information necessary to help the case. When asked about Ted, she stated that on the
nights of the murders, she could not account for him. Meg also told police that he would
often sleep during the day and go out at night, exactly where she didn't know. She said
that his interest in sex had waned during the last year. When he did show interest, he
pressured her into bondage. When she told Bundy that she no longer wanted to participate
in his bondage fantasies, he was very upset with her.
In a later interview with Meg, investigators learned that Ted had plaster of Paris to make
casts in his room, which she had noticed when they first began dating. She also noticed on
a later occasion that in his car, Ted had a hatchet. But there was something else important
to the case that Meg would remember. She recalled that Ted had visited Lake Sammamish
Park in July, where he had supposedly gone water skiing. A week after Ted had gone to
Lake Sammamish Park, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were reported missing.
After long hours of interviews with Meg, investigators decided to shift their focus to
Stephanie Brooks. Stephanie would tell them of how he had abruptly changed his manner
towards her from a loving and affectionate man to cruel and insensitive. Upon further
questioning, police learned that Bundy's relationship with Stephanie had overlapped with
his relationship with Meg and neither of them knew of the other woman. Ted seemed to be
living a double life, filled with lies and betrayal. There was more to Ted than what
investigators had initially expected.
Further investigation yielded more evidence that would later lead to his conviction. Lynda
Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his; more eyewitnesses would
recognize him from Lake Sammamish Park during the time Ott and Naslund disappeared;
an old friend of Bundy's came forward saying he had seen pantyhose in the glove
compartment of his car; plus Ted had spent a lot of time in the Taylor Mountains where
the bodies of victims had been found. Bundy's credibility was further dented when police
discovered he purchased gas on credit cards in the towns where some of the victims had
disappeared. Furthermore, a friend had seen him with his arm in a cast when there was no
record of him ever having a broken arm at any hospital. The evidence against Ted Bundy
was building up, yet he still continued to profess his innocence.
On February 23, 1976 Ted was put on trial for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. Bundy
sat in a relaxed manner in the courtroom, confident that he would be found innocent of the
charges against him. He believed that there was no hard evidence to convict him, but he
couldn't have been more wrong. When Carol DaRonch took the stand, she told of her
ordeal that she suffered sixteen months earlier. When asked if she were able to recognize
the person who attacked her, she began to cry as she lifted her hand and pointed a finger
to the man who had called himself "Officer Roseland." The people in the courtroom turned
their attention to Ted Bundy, who stared at DaRonch coldly as she pointed at him. Later
in the trial, Ted had said he had never seen the defendant but he had no alibi to confirm his
whereabouts the day of the attack.
The judge spent the weekend reviewing the case before he handed down a verdict. Two
days later he would find Bundy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated
kidnapping. Ted Bundy was later sentenced on June 30th to one to fifteen years in prison
with the possibility of parole.
While in prison, Bundy was subjected to a psychological evaluation that the court had
previously requested. In Anne Rule's book The Stranger Beside Me, she stated that
psychologists found Bundy to be neither "psychotic, neurotic, the victim of organic brain
disease, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, suffering from a character disorder or amnesia, and
was not a sexual deviate." The psychologists concluded that he had a "strong dependency
on women, and deduced that that dependency was suspect." Upon further evaluation, they
concluded that Ted had a "fear of being humiliated in his relationships with women."
While Bundy remained incarcerated in Utah State Prison, investigators began a search for
evidence connecting him to the murders of Caryn Campbell and Melissa Smith. What
Bundy did not realize was that his legal problems were to soon escalate. Detectives
discovered in Bundy's VW hairs that were examined by the FBI and found to be
characteristically alike to Campbell and Smith's hair. Further examination of Caryn
Campbell's remains showed that her skull bore impressions made by a blunt instrument,
and those impressions matched the crowbar that had been discovered in Bundy's car a year
earlier. Colorado police filed charges against Bundy on October 22, 1976, for the murder
of Caryn Campbell.
In April of 1977, Ted was transferred to Garfield County Jail in Colorado to await trial for
the murder of Caryn Campbell. During preparation of his case, Bundy became increasingly
unhappy with his representation. He believed his lawyer to be inept and incapable and
eventually he fired him. Bundy, experienced in law, believed he could do the job better and
he began to take up his own defense in the case. He felt confident that he would succeed
at the trial scheduled for November 14, 1977. Bundy had a lot of work ahead of him. He
was granted permission to leave the confines of the jail on occasion and utilize the
courthouse library in Aspen, to conduct research. What police didn't know was that he
was planning an escape.
On June 7th, during one of his trips to the library at the courthouse, Bundy managed to
jump from an open window, injuring his ankle in the process, and escaped to freedom. He
was not wearing any leg irons or handcuffs, so he did not stand out among the ordinary
citizens in the town of Aspen. It was an escape that had been planned by Ted for a while.
Aspen Police were quick to set up roadblocks surrounding the town, yet Ted knew to stay
within the city limits for the time being and lay low. Police launched a massive land search,
using scent tracking bloodhounds and 150 searchers in the hopes of catching Ted.
However, Ted was able to elude them for days.
While on the run, Bundy managed to live off the food he stole from local cabins and
nearby campers, occasionally sleeping in ones that were abandoned. Yet, Bundy knew that
what he really needed was a car, which would better enable him to pass through police
barriers. He couldn't hide in Aspen forever. Finally, Bundy found his ticket out of town
when he discovered a car with the keys left in it. While trying to flee Aspen in the stolen
vehicle, he was spotted by two police officers and recaptured, six days after his escape.
From then on, he was ordered to wear handcuffs and leg irons while conducting his
research at the library in Aspen. However, Bundy was not the type of man who liked to be
Almost seven months later, Bundy again attempted an escape, but this time he was more
successful. On December 30th, he crawled up into the ceiling of the Garfield County
Jailand made his way to another part of the building. He managed to find another opening
in the ceiling that led down into the closet of a jailer's apartment. He sat and waited until
he knew the apartment was empty, then casually walked out of the front door to his
freedom. His escape would go undiscovered until the following afternoon, more than
fifteen hours later.
By the time police learned of his escape, Bundy was well on his way to Chicago. Chicago
was one of the few stops that Bundy would make along the route to his final destination,
sunny Florida. By mid January of 1978 Ted Bundy, using his newly acquired name Chris
Hagen, had settled comfortably into a one-room apartment in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ted Bundy enjoyed his new found freedom in a place that knew little if nothing about him
or his past. Bundy was stimulated by intelligence and youth and felt comfortable in his new
environment nearby Florida State University. He spent much of his free time walking
around F.S.U.'s campus, occasionally ducking into classes unnoticed and listening in on
lectures. When he was not wandering around campus, he would spend his time in his
apartment watching the television he had stolen. Theft became second nature to Bundy.
Almost everything in his apartment was stolen merchandise. Even the food he ate was
purchased from stolen credit cards. Under the circumstances, Bundy seemed to have
enough material things to make him content. What he didn't have and what he missed the
most was companionship.
On Saturday night, January 14th, few of the sorority sisters could be found at the Chi
Omega House. Most were out dancing or at keg parties on campus. It wasn't unusual for
the sisters to stay out late, since there was no curfew. In fact, it was pretty normal for the
girls to return in the early morning hours. However, none of the sisters was prepared to
confront the horror that awaited them back at their sorority house later that night.
At 3 AM, Nita Neary was dropped off at the sorority house by her boyfriend after
attending a keg party on campus. Upon reaching the door to the house, she noticed it
standing wide open. Soon after she had entered the building, she heard some movement,
as if someone was running in the rooms above her. Suddenly, she heard the footsteps
approaching the staircase near her and she hid in a doorway, out of view. She watched as
a man with a knit blue cap pulled over his eyes, holding a log with cloth around it, ran
down the stairs and out the door.
Nita's first thought was that the sorority house had been burglarized. She immediately ran
up the stairs to wake her roommate, Nancy Dowdy. Nita told her of the strange man she
saw leaving the building. Unsure of what to do, the girls made their way to the
housemother's room. Yet, before they were able to make it to her room, they saw another
roommate, Karen Chandler, staggering down the hall. Her entire head was soaked with
blood. While Nancy tried to help Karen, Nita woke up the housemother and the two of
them went to check on another roommate nearby. They found Kathy Klein in her room
alive, but in a horrible state. She was also covered in blood that was seeping from open
wounds on her head. Hysterical, Nancy ran to the phone and dialed the police.
Police later found two more girls dead in their rooms lying in their beds. Someone had
attacked them while they slept. Lisa Levy was the first girl that officers found dead.
Pathologists who later performed the autopsy on her found that she had been beaten on
the head with a log, raped and strangled. Upon further examination, they discovered bite
marks on her buttocks and on one of her nipples. In fact, Lisa's nipple had been so
severely bitten that it was almost severed from the rest of her breast. She had also been
sexually assaulted with a hair spray bottle.
Post mortem reports on Margaret Bowman showed that she suffered similar fatal injuries,
although she had not been sexually assaulted and she showed no signs of bite marks. She
had been strangled by a pair of panty hose that were later found at the scene of the crime.
She had also been beaten on the head, yet so severely that her skull was splintered and a
portion of her brain was exposed. Neither she nor Lisa Levy showed signs of a struggle.
Investigators who interviewed the survivors learned nothing. None of the girls had any
memory of the events of that fatal night. Like Levy and Bowman, they too had been asleep
when they were attacked. The only witness was Nita Neary who was able to catch a
profile of the killer as he fled. However, the assailant would not travel far before claiming
another victim that night.
Less than a mile from the Chi Omega House, Debbie Ciccarelli was awakened by loud
banging noises coming from the apartment next to hers. She wondered what her friend in
the adjoining apartment was doing to make so much noise at four in the morning. As the
banging noises persisted, Debbie became suspicious and woke her roommate Nancy
Young. As they listened, they heard Cheryl Thompson next door moaning. Frightened,
they called over to her house to see if she was all right. When no one picked up the phone,
they immediately called the police.
The police came quickly. After all, they were just blocks away at the Chi Omega House
tending to the crime scene there. They entered Cheryl's apartment and walked to her
bedroom, where they found her sitting on the bed. Her face was just beginning to swell
from the bludgeoning to her head. She was still somewhat conscious and half nude, but
lucky to be alive. Police discovered a mask at the foot of her bed. According to Anne Rule
in The Stranger Beside Me the mask that was found "resembled almost exactly the mask
taken from Ted Bundy's car when he'd been arrested in Utah in August of 1975."
Police investigators worked diligently on the evidence that was left behind. They were able
to get a blood type from the assailant, sperm samples and fingerprint smudges.
Unfortunately, most of the evidence that was tested proved to be inconclusive. The only
firm evidence investigators were able to obtain were the hairs found in the mask, teeth
impressions from the bite marks on the victims and an eyewitness account from Nita
Neary. Investigators did not have a suspect and Ted Bundy was unknown to them.
On February 9th, 1978, Lake City Police received a phone call from the distressed parents
of twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach. They were hysterical and said that their daughter had
disappeared that day. Police were to launch a massive search to find the missing girl, who
disappeared from her school grounds. The person who last saw her was her friend Priscilla
Blakney. In fact, she saw Kim get into the car of a stranger the day she disappeared.
Unfortunately, she was unable to accurately remember the car or the driver. They found
her body eight weeks later in a state park in Suwannee County, Florida. The young girl's
body yielded little information due to advanced decomposition. However, police were to
later find the evidence they needed in a van driven by Ted Bundy.
A few days before Kimberly Leach had disappeared, a strange man in a white van
approached fourteen-year-old Leslie Parmenter as she waited for her brother to pick her
up. The man had claimed he was from the fire department and asked her if she attended
the school nearby. She found it strange that an on-duty fireman was wearing plaid pants
and a navy jacket. Leslie began to feel uncomfortable. She had been warned on many
occasions by her father, who was the Chief of Detectives for the Jacksonville Police
Department, not to talk with strangers. She was relieved when her brother drove up.
Suspicious of the man, Leslie's brother Danny ordered her into the car. Danny followed
the man and wrote down his license plate, so he could later give it to his father.
Upon hearing of the stranger in the white van, Detective James Parmenter had the license
plate checked out. He learned it belonged to a man named Randall Ragen, and he decided
to pay him a visit. Ragen informed the detective that his plates had been stolen and he had
already been issued new ones. The detective later found out that the van his children had
seen was also stolen and he had an idea who it might have been. He decided to take his
children to the police station to show them a stack of mug shots, Bundy's picture being
among them. He hadn't realized how close he had been to losing his own daughter. Both
of his children recognized the man in the van to be Ted Bundy.
The van long since discarded, Bundy set out towards Pensacola, Florida, in a new stolen
car. This time he managed to find a vehicle he was more comfortable driving, a VW bug.
Officer David Lee was patrolling an area in West Pensacola when he saw an orange VW
at 10 PM on February 15th. He knew the area well and most of the residents, yet he had
never before seen the car. Officer Lee decided to run a check on the license plates and
soon found out that they were stolen. Immediately, he turned on his lights and began to
follow the VW.
Once again, as had happened in Utah several years earlier, Bundy gave chase. Suddenly,
Bundy pulled over and stopped. Officer Lee ordered him out of his car and told Bundy to
lay down with his hands in front. To Lee's surprise, as he had begun to handcuff Bundy, he
rolled over and began to fight the officer. Bundy managed to fight his way free and run.
Just as soon as he did, Lee fired his weapon at him. Bundy dropped to the ground,
pretending to have been shot. As the officer approached him lying on the ground, he was
again attacked by Bundy. However, the officer was able to overpower him. He was
handcuffed and taken to the police station. Bundy had finally been caught.
Over the months following Bundy's arrest, investigators were able to compile critical
evidence to be used against Bundy in the Leach case. The white van that had been stolen
by Bundy was found and they had three eyewitnesses that had seen him driving it the
afternoon Kimberly had disappeared. Forensic tests conducted on the van yielded fibers of
material that had come from Bundy's clothes.
Tests also revealed Kimberly's blood type on the van's carpet and semen and Ted's blood
type on her underwear found near the body. Further evidence discovered was Ted's shoe
impressions in the soil located next to where Kimberly was found. Police felt confident
with the information they had tying Bundy to the Leach case, and on July 31, 1978, Ted
Bundy was charged with the girl's murder. Soon after, he would also be charged with the
Chi Omega murders. Facing the death penalty, Ted would later plead in his own defense
that he was not guilty of the murders.
Theodore Robert Bundy faced three trials, all spaced within three years. His first trial date
for the Chi Omega murders was set for February 22, 1978, in Miami, Florida. Three
months later, he would go on trial for the attacks on the Chi Omega sorority sisters. It
would be more than a year later on January 7, 1980, that Bundy would face his final trial
for the murder of Kimberly Leach. However, it would be the trial for the Chi Omega
murders that would seal his fate forever.
During the Chi Omega murder trial, Ted acted as his own defense attorney. He was
confident in his abilities and believed he would be given a fair trial. Twelve jurors, mostly
African-American, looked on as he defended himself against the murder charges. Bundy
was fighting a losing battle. There were two events in the trial that would sway the jury
against Bundy. The first was Nita Neary's testimony of what she had seen the night of the
murders. While on the stand, she pointed to Bundy as the man she had seen fleeing down
the stairs and out the door of the Chi Omega House. The second event that swayed the
jury during the trial was the testimony of odontologist, Dr. Richard Souviron.
While on the stand, Dr. Souviron described the bite mark injuries found on Lisa Levy's
body. As he spoke, the jury was shown full-scale photographs of the bite marks that had
been taken the night of the murder. The doctor pointed out the uniqueness of the
indentations left behind on the victim and compared them with full-scale pictures of
Bundy's teeth. They matched perfectly. There was no question that Bundy had made the
bite marks on Lisa Levy's body. The photos would be the biggest piece of evidence the
prosecution had linking Bundy to the crime.
On July 23rd, Bundy waited in his cell as the jurors deliberated over his guilt or innocence.
After almost seven hours, they returned to the courtroom with a verdict. Showing no
emotion, Bundy listened as one of the jurors read out GUILTY." On all counts of murder,
Ted was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Later, Ted would also be found guilty at
his second trial for the attacks against Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler. On July 31st,
Ted Bundy would be sentenced to die in the electric chair.
On January 7, 1980, Ted would go to trial for his last time for the murder of Kimberly
Leach. With evidence stacked against him, he would once again be found guilty. It would
be a month later, when Bundy would again be sentenced to death for the third time. He
would eventually confess to the murders of 28 women. However, many believe the
number of deaths to be much higher. No one will ever really know how many women fell
victim to Ted Bundy; it would be a number he would take to his grave. After countless
appeals, Ted was finally executed on January 24, 1989.